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tahunua001
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tahunua001
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PostTue May 17, 2022 8:01 pm 
ok so I am looking for a unicorn. I have very wide feet, 12 4e is usually my go to shoe size. I also have high arches and a life long hate affair with plantar fasciitis so a bit of cushion in the soles and and flex in the ankles/roof is a big win for me. I'm looking primarily for a waterproof, spring-fall work boot that can pull double duty for the woods (wood cutting, hunting, landscaping, etc).

a few years back I was talked into buying danner super rain forests as a boot that would last me 15 years minimum... well I made it less than half that, wearing them only a few times a year because of how uncomfortable they were. I have a pair of irish setter elk trackers which work ok, but are too heavily insulated for warmer months and even those could use some wider sizing.

is there a magical boot that meets these requirements that will last more than a few months?

also I am a fat guy that wants to start hiking some... is there a trail shoe that fits the same basic sizing/cushion requirements?

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I didn't say half the things people said I did- George Washington
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Route Loser
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PostTue May 17, 2022 9:09 pm 
I have a similar albatross, and I'm always looking for a unicorn. 12 5E here.

Northwest logger-style work boots: Whites custom Smoke Jumpers size FFF on the Northwest last for me. Life-changing. Northwest last is White's widest and flattest. The more traditional lasts have an absurd amount of arch support, but you might like that (I have flat feet). The man to size these is Kyle at Baker's Boots. You can mail in tracings, and he will generally nail the sizing. White's is the best value and quickest turnaround on a pair of custom boots usually. A pair of Wesco or Nick's would be nice, too.

Mountaineering boots (or work boots): You're completely out of luck on contemporary lightweight mountain boots. Kyle at Bakers' might be able to size you into a Meindl or Hanwag or Kennetrek. I couldn't make any of them work. Limmer makes the classic custom one-piece leather hiking boots. Seam is on the side, which is a nice construction method. Little more waterproof than northwest style with the separate vamp, shaft and counter, though all are pretty darn waterproof with a coat of Obenauf's LP. You can get a pair of stock Limmer's today, and I would recommend the Midweight. This is their widest last. I'd say it's around 3-4E. I have a pair, and use them for spring mountaineering in pure snow. They have a celastic toe box that digs into my toes if I am kneeling, but walking is pretty great. Wait time for a pair of custom Limmer's was 2 years last I checked.

Trail runners: Brooks and New Balance/Dunham make 4E in several models. There are a couple more brands at the Big & Tall stores as well. I think Hoka is doing 4E now as well. None of them meet the need for durable, but they're fine. I wear a pair of Inov8 Terraultra G260s sometimes. It takes a few weeks for my feet to blow 'em out a couple sizes in width. Very nice, durable shoes. Wish they actually fit.

Contemporary light hiking boots: There are a lot of 2E or generic wide hiking boots out there, and none of the high-quality ones comes close to fitting for me. I fit a pair of Keen Targhee wide okay, but they will fall apart before you make it to the trailhead. Though quite narrow in some respects, I can get by alright with a pair of Salomon X Ultra 4 wide. They have a lot of toe room (3Eish) and a high arch/narrow midfoot. Just depends on if any of the poorly designed elements of the shoe contacts any of your foot's unique protrusions.

The unicorn. Wading Boots: Forget waterproof for a second. If you're in Seattle or Spokane, do yourself a favor and go down to the Orvis store and try on a pair of Ultralight Boots. You will likely take a size down from normal. Breathe a sigh of long-awaited relief. I prefer the Simms Flyweight Access Boot myself but own both. They have some drawbacks - steep price for a contemporary hiking boot that is not going to last too long. The Simms have a sticky rubber sole that is great on river rock and for scrambling, but wears insanely fast. You can call up Simms and order replacement soles, or I typically have my local cobbler resole to a different Vibram sole when ready.

Add plastic bread bag to wading boots = modular waterproof 4E sorta-durable work/hiking boots.

RichP
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zimmertr
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PostTue May 17, 2022 9:27 pm 
I wear size 9 to 11 depending on the shoe, have wide feet, and weigh between 200 and 210lbs. The best match I've found are Altra Superior 4.5. I wear them year round. Finding them was so life changing I purchased 8 pairs because they were discontinued. You'll find a similar fit on the Superior 5 and Lone Peak 5. But I prefer the Superior 4.5 to the 5 because it has a toebox hook for rock gaiters. And I prefer the Superior to the Lone Peak because it's lighter and more minimalist.

I've scrambled a couple dozen peaks, backpacked the Wonderland trail, and put 20+ miles in a single day comfortably into the Superior 4.5. Best shoe I've ever worn in my life. I run 50-100 miles/month in them too.

Only downside is that the sole breaks down around 200 miles. And the toebox usually blows a hole in the side around 300 miles.

Those shoes turned me from a fat weekend hiker into an athlete. 10/10.

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zimmertr
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PostTue May 17, 2022 9:33 pm 
Now if someone has a lead on similar mountaineering boots I'd love to hear about it. So far I've unsuccessfully tried AKU Alterra GTX in 9 and 9.5 and Scarpa Mont Blanc Pro GTX in 43EU.

I went up St Helens in the size 9 Aku boots. But I found they put a lot of pressure on my Achilles. And were too heavy.

I haven't hiked in the Scarpa's yet but am planning on returning them because they're tight on the top of my forefoot and my heel moves around a bit.

I have a weird foot. It's wide and tall. But not very long. I'm at my wits end for mountaineering boots. Are they supposed to be uncomfortable?

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Carbonj
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PostWed May 18, 2022 7:52 am 
Zimmertr you can go to a good ski boot fitter and get some mountaineering boots stretched. Evo, pro ski north bend or arete in buckley all can tell you more.

zimmertr
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tahunua001
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tahunua001
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PostWed May 18, 2022 8:19 am 
I am located in Lewiston ID so seattle is a bit of a jog for boots. spokane isn't outside the realm of possibility and I have heard of bakers boots before though. some people have recommended custom whites, although the price is... well, higher than the shoes I put on my truck. keep the ideas coming.

as for mountaineering boots all of the ones linked look like high top basketball shoes with thicker soles... probably not something I would put much stock in, but then again, I'm not a rock climber.

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I didn't say half the things people said I did- George Washington
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Bowregard
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PostWed May 18, 2022 9:21 am 
I dealt with plantar fasciitis for a long time and tried just about every treatment available until I finally committed to stretching the entire back side of my legs from Glutes to toes before I even stepped out of bed in the morning. I have also had foot surgery and need extra room in the toe box (+ bunions).

I found that Altra Olympus gives me the most comfort and protection for my plantar fasciitis and room in the toe box. They provide width where I need it and much more support than the lighter Timp or Lone Peak models.

For Hiking boots I found a good fit and support with Hanwag. There was one Keen model that fit well but I just don't get much durability out of that brand.

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Route Loser
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PostWed May 18, 2022 9:41 am 
The value of custom handsewns really depends on how hard you are on boots. I'm not too strong in the math department, so it took me 15 years of spending $200 on boots twice a year before I was willing to spend $500 on a pair of custom White's. Generally, this gets me 2 years between $150 resoles. For me, any synthetic boot with cemented soles last 3-4 months on the job (including mountaineering boots), and any machine-welted, mass-produced boot lasts 6-12 months. Part of the issue is fit, and part of the issue is thin leathers. I will blow out the shaft and vamp beyond the possibility of a rebuild before resoling in necessary.

Given your location, I would recommend sending in tracings to Baker's, and ask if there are any stock boots of any kind in the shop that will fit you. They have quite a selection. They run 2 sales per year, Father's Day and Black Friday, and usually you can get $100 off a pair of Custom White's.

Alternately, you could just go up to White's in Spokane for a fitting in person. You could also check Cabela's in Spokane. Sometimes they will have 4E in stock.

If you're not too hard on boots, another pair of Irish Setters, Wolverine, Redwing King Toe, Creech, Carolina, Crispi. I believe they all make 4E.

You can check out Hitchcock Wide Shoes

Check your local fly shop or Sportsman's Warehouse for wading boots. Patagonia is 3E, Simms 4E, Orvis 5E.

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tahunua001
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tahunua001
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PostWed May 18, 2022 9:53 am 
I will admit that my 350 dollar danners have far outlasted any 80 dollar set of walmart boots or even the 200 bates boots I had to get in the military. even though I have a weird gait that seems to eat soles, I've never had a set of boot soles go before the leather/seams. usually I chuck a pair as soon as they are no longer waterproof or the lining starts tearing out (like the goretex in my danners).

I'm really not that hard on boots, in my hardest season I think I hunted 150 miles, and cut 5 cord of firewood. these days I don't do nearly as much walking when I hunt and with my irish setters, I tend to alternate boots so that one can dry while the others are worn so even less wear is expected.

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I didn't say half the things people said I did- George Washington
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